Monday, April 26, 2010

My better half.

Sometimes I get asked, "How do you do it all?" The truth is I don't. At any given point in the day I am behind on something. The catch is to not get behind on everything at the same time. And prioritize. Sometimes a kid goes to bed without a bath or we forget to read our library books or two days worth of laundry is piled up to the rafters. Sometimes our lawn needs mowed (looking out at it now)or dinner is ramen noodles and my trim in my house has needed painted since the day we moved in almost five years ago. But the basics are done. The kids are loved and cared for. Our family is happy. That is my priority.

The other answer to how I do it is: #1 God....trusting in Him, depending on Him and using His strength instead of my own.
#2 My husband. He is how I do it.


Back in my high school days I spent alot of my time dating boys that needed saving. My mom, in her wisdom, gave me some of the best advice then. Advice I believe saved my life(a story for another day) She told me that just because I can deal with a guy's faults or personality doesn't mean my children can and that when I was choosing my 'boyfriend' I should pick a man that would make a good father. It took me years to actually take the advice but then one day I realized that 'my type' wasn't working for me. And then I met Trevor. I would like to say it was love at first sight. It wasn't. But the very first time I met him, I went to sleep that night knowing that he would always be my friend and that he has.

I can do all of this because my husband is the kind of man that does the dishes and gives baths and does laundry and never complains about any of it and looks cute doing it. He is the kind of man that leads our family with his faith and trust in God. He makes me a laugh.....usually when he doesn't mean to which makes it even better. He's the kind of funny that doesn't realize he's being funny. He is the kind of man that when he goes to see his ailing father he doesn't sit quietly by but he feeds him and bathes him and holds his hand and reads to him. He is 6 feet five inches and as gentle as they come. He is the kind of man that has worked to build a life for himself and his family coming from a third world country to the U.S. where he didn't know a soul. He is the kind of man that has several children (that aren't ours) at church or on the soccer field run up and hug him because he has touched their life in some way as a teacher or coach. He is the kind of man that will take two children who's dad neglected to ever know them and call them his children and love them as such. He is the kind of manager at work that asks about his employee's lives and truly cares about them.


He is the kind of dad that my dad is. The kind of dad my mother told me to look for. He is the kind of dad that sits and does homework or wrestles around on the ground with them. He makes a great jungle gym and cheerleader rooting them on. He is the kind of dad that makes them laugh and disciplines with seriousness and gentleness and patience. He is the kind of dad that they miss when he is gone one night from dinner.


Sure, Trevor can't seem to find the hamper in our bedroom. It appears he thinks it is two feet to the left of where it actually is. If you want him to make a decision be prepared to wait and wait and wait. You can tell exactly where he's been in the house by what cabinets or closet doors are open because he never shuts anything. BUT, who cares? This man is the real deal. He is the kind of husband that loves his open-book-tell-everyone-everything wife even though he is intensely private. He is the kind of husband that asks how he can pray for me and does. He is the kind of husband that doesn't pretend to understand my emotional range in any given day but loves me in each of them. He helps me and lends a hand and laughs at my jokes and tells my I'm pretty even though there is way more of me here then there was when we met. He is not perfect. Our marriage is not perfect. But there is no one else in this world I would rather be my partner in this not so perfect life. There is no one else I would rather spend a day with. There is no one else I would want to be the father of my children. God handpicked him for me. I am blessed.

And as a bonus, he's hot!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

Do you see that?



It's the light at the end of the tunnel. Final hearing for the adoption is set. June 7th, 2:00. Tears came when the letter did. Nervous and anxious and trusting and hopeful.....all at the same time.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The hand of providence...

How cool is our God? Seriously?!! If you don't know Him, you should acquaint yourself.

Just Wednesday evening I was telling some friends that we weren't going to be able to get the kids a playset like we had planned because that money was needed in Jamaica now. One of them knew of a neighbor who was giving her set away and thought we might be interested even though it needed work. Work! I'm all about the elbow grease. So with a little bit of hope that it was in working order I planned to go see it today.

This morning my Facebook status was
1 John 14-15 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
I went to see the playset and it was great and in great shape. Now just to find the help to tear it down and set it up and give it the work it needs. I came home so excited and told my sister about it. Within a minute a text I was unaware of was sent to another sister in a panic. My phone rings and I hear, " I heard you found a free swingset?" Huh? I literally just walked in the door and had only told one person and I was standing looking at her. My sister on the phone informs me that she and her husband have been wanting to buy us a set since P and L first came to live with us and they were waiting to get it as a celebration when the adoption is final. They decided this week not to wait anymore and our new playset will arrive soon!!! Even wilder is that the one they ordered is the exact same one I had picked out and had the money saved up for until it went to higher priority things. I cannot believe it. I'm still a bit stunned. Do you know how a working playset will change this ladies summer! Wahoo!!!!

I declared it quiet time and have sat and thought about just how cool our God is. If He is a God that cares about if my children have a playset or not, then surely He is a God that cares for my husbands decisions and the health and life of my father-in-law. What an awesome God we serve. He provides for all our needs and sometimes blesses us more than we can even imagine. Sometimes He even provides the extras that will help save this little momma's sanity this summer:) I've said it before and I will say it again....it truly takes a village and my village is the best. If you hear a loud ''weeeeeeeee'', it's just me trying out the slide.


Oh yeh, I almost forgot. I was able to call another friend who was wanting one and struggling with the finances for it and now she can get the one for free!! How cool is that?!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hurting....

Trevor had a tough day today. He took his dad to his neurology appointment and he sat for five hours in a third world clinic for a ten minute appointment that didn't bring good news. His dad had normal pressure hydrocephalus which is excess fluid on his brain. The neurosurgeon wanted to admit him Sunday and do a lumbar puncture and a shunt surgery on Monday morning. He told Trevor it would be $5000 US dollars. After speaking with his dad's regular GP and consulting a physician friend here, it seems a bit unrealistic to do the procedure. The procedure is done to treat symptoms and only works in about a third of all patients. The main symptoms are things he struggles with because of the Alzheimers anyways and would probably bring no relief. There will be a day when I truly believe this blessing of a man will sit at the right hand of our Father and he will be completely restored. We're not sure the neurosurgeon didn't just see US dollars and get a little procedure happy. It would buy him no time and no quality of life. He is almost 80 years old, diabetic and in end stage Alzheimer's. As a son that loves his father and respects him more than anything it is not an easy place to be in. So much responsibility and grief and just really tough decisions. It has been hard for him to see his dad like this. He sometimes just sits and stares and other times chatters to whoever will listen. We spoke on the phone tonight about what a blessing it is to show him the love of Christ right now and to give him the dignity he deserves. I just feel the heaviness of T's voice and I wish I could take the burdens away. I am glad my husband knows that our heavenly Father will.

His dad lives in a duplex that they own. We rent out the smaller side to help pay for his care. The renters this time around had quit paying and part of the reason he went down there was to make sure they vacated the property. Trevor says it needs alot of work to become rentable again and it's just another thing to worry about. It is difficult to find someone there to trust to finish the work in a timely manner and for a good price and harder to find the time away from work here to do it yourself. So in the meantime, it sits empty and no rent comes in and his amazing caregiver still needs to be payed and bills pile up and things here have to be juggled to make ends meet there..... Anybody up for a mission trip to Jamaica? lol

Our God will provide. He always has. I wish I was there with Trev. I could paint or sit with Daddy or just be present with my husband. "Daddy" as we all lovingly call him was the greatest example of a father and a husband and I find myself so thankful this evening that he was chosen to guide and nurture my husband. It is largely because of "Daddy" that I have the man I do. I am so proud of the way he loves his dad, of the way he treats him with such gentelness and dignity and the way he is being the hands and feet of Jesus to a man that lived everyday of his life being that to others.

Pray for them, friends. Pray for solutions and answers and God's peace. Love to you all.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 15th

For most people, April 15th marks the deadline for filing your taxes. For me, it marks the day I was given the gift of my son. My Noah will turn 7 tomorrow. He is the sweetest boy. I don't say that lightly. I mean this kid is really really sweet. He's the kind of kid that you miss everyday he's at school because he just has a way of making life better.

He is such a kind soul and is patient and loving and has an awesome heart for Jesus. We tease him that he inherited the Harris ability to pray because that boy prays with conviction and the things his almost seven year old mind knows to pray for knocks the breath out of me. He is such a great big brother and let's L follow him around everywhere and repeat everything he says and does. He loves to help and is affectionate and thoughtful. He even tells his momma she's pretty.

The boy loves sports...any sport but really has taking a liking to football, basketball and soccer. He could play video games all day long if I let him but I am blessed with a well rounded son that likes to read as well. He is smart as a whip and if we could just get him to see the value of giving our best everytime we'll really be on to something. He can do math problems faster than I can.

He loves to act silly and rough house and thinks wrestling and tackle football are two of the greatest things ever invented. If there is a ball in the house he is bouncing it or using the drapery rod as a goal and the energy just doesn't stop. My Noah is a complete joy to me. He his eyes dance with life. And the one thing I have to mention before I go.....my Noah is as handsome as they come. I'm so glad the beauty of his heart matches that outward beauty he was blessed with.

Happy 7th Birthday, Noah Andrew. I am so proud to call you my son. I look forward to the life God has called you too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Alzheimers stinks.

I'm not sure if I've written about this before. That is part of the reason I blog, to serve as a history of events for my family since my brain seems to function at about 50% most the time.

My husband is in Jamaica right now visiting his father. He got there today. His dad didn't know who he was. No recollection. None. Alzheimer's. It's kind of a long story but when Noah was about six months old, my father-in-law came to visit for three weeks and ended up staying for three years. He was diagnosed almost seven years ago. He has been back in Jamaica now almost four years I think. It became too much with a young family and he never quite adjusted and it seemed to make his disease worse to be in a foreign land. His caregivers are amazing and love him and look at him as their ministry. Trevor's father was a missionary in Haiti for several years and a minister in Jamaica for over 40 until he retired because of this life stealing disease.

It began with him getting lost on his way home from church or forgetting to eat or someone's name...it's progressed to this. The one thing that continues to amaze me is that he can still quote scripture. It is in him that deep. He read his Bible every single day. Sometimes all day. He doesn't know his sons name, he doesn't know he is his son, he can't remember that he was married or that he has grandkids or his address or how to even brush his own teeth but he knows to the core of his soul our Heavenly Father and I believe wholeheartedly doesn't feel alone because of it. He is still the most peaceful man I know.

Alzheimer's. So many little griefs along the way. Much harder for those on the outside to see at this point. It hurts my heart for my husband and I wish I could be there with him....just to buffer the pain of it all. Praying for a good visit for them and that maybe, just maybe, this week he will call Trevor by name just once. I pray Trevor gets that.

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

I had the most cathartic experience yesterday. I turned this:




into this:



and listened to him giggle at himself while he looked in the mirror all day:



Now THIS looks like MY son and just saved this mama several hours a week:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend away...

The only thing better than my road trip alone with the kids is to follow it up with some alone time with my husband.

This weekend the hubs and I had some much needed time together. The budget was challenged so my gracious parents offered their home to us and took all five of our children and our cute but smelly dog to my sister's house to help her corral our crew for the weekend. My children like nothing more than to hang with their cousins, fun aunties and uncles and Mamaw and Papaw are like the cherry on top! They were thrilled. As was I. It is no little favor to take on my life for a weekend so when my sister offered, I moved fast!

My wise mother encouraged me to get away from our house even though the children wouldn't be there. She was afraid we would get wrapped up in projects or household duties instead of focusing on each other and she was right. I totally recommend doing this if the budget doesn't allow for a swank hotel...or any. My parents, who raised six kids themselves, had a bottle of wine waiting, chocolates, strawberries, cheese and crackers and a nice little blanket for a picnic on the floor of the living room. Nice touch! If your parents don't live close by or family, swap with a trusted friend and then you can do the same for them. We have to encourage and support one another's marriages.

Trevor and I slept in a bit, ate breakfast at my favorite way too expensive to take kids too breakfast place and then went for a hike in a park we used to hang out in back in the day. We hit our old favorite dinner spot, did a little shopping and rented a movie. It was wonderful. The best part was just doing what we wanted when we wanted too. The past year of our lives has been a bit crazy to say the least and with a big busy family it is so easy to just lose touch and it was so nice to just be with this wonderful man and talk uninterrupted and laugh and dream and just appreciate and focus solely on each other. I am beyond blessed by this husband God chose for me. I know that the best gift, other than Jesus, that I can give my children is the security that comes from them knowing how much their dad and I love each other and we will forever be a family.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Braving the open road.....


On Sunday afternoon I packed the kids in the van and we took off for Aunt Nae Nae's house about 4 hours away in Kentucky. A few people called me nuts piling 5 kids into a van and venturing off on my own, but when all 5 belong to you it doesn't seem quite as crazy, I promise. Ten minutes into the trip someone touched someone else. Another five minutes later and every book in the bag was out and strewn all over the van and the selection of dvd titles was being debated. It took a full 36 minutes before the first single "where are we" was uttered. That might be a new Harris record. It was then asked about every 30 minutes thereafter which made the exit for the distellery slightly tempting but I settled on the fresh bag of Easter jellybeans.

Actually, my crew did great. My sister had warned me that she lived in the middle of nowhere. Now, my big city friends would think that my own little town fit that bill but this truly was... out there. I knew I must be close when the signs declaring "Vote Stumpy Durham for county jailer" appeared on the side of the road. Every five minutes we could have stopped at a baptist church or visited the local taxidermy shop and the above ground pools had ten thousand dollar decks around them. My cell phone literally switched time zones from the front of their house to the back deck and text messages appeared randomly hours after they were sent. I think Campbellsville might be the U.S's version of the Bermuda triangle.

All kidding aside though, the trip was great and the quality cousin time was well worth the trip. It was nice to just sit and chat with my sister and watch our kids play together. It's a beautiful area with a gorgeous state park across the street from their house where we hiked in the woods, climbed trees, skipped rocks on the lake, played on the playground and enjoyed the gorgeous weather God gave us while we were there. It's a place where the roofs are made of metal, you park your car in the garage under your house and your neighbor may very well be three quarters of a mile down the road. It is the place my sister now calls home. The perfect place for her bass fishing, antique shopping, horseback riding family. It is a place I'm sure my children will have great memories of and a place I'm sure we'll visit often. I'm so glad I braved the open road with my crew. It's moments like the ones that have composed the past few days that are what life is all about.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Feet

Tonight at our church's Maundy Thursday Service our Pastor selected six people to come on stage and he and the lead pastor washed their feet. I was one of those people. I am not a feet person. I had two initial thoughts. One, thank God I shaved my legs and two, thank God I used the pedegg this week. Shallow, I know but honest. Something happened though as it began. I was incredibly humbled. I thought about what it would have been like to have the King of kings clean your feet. At the time, it was customary for the owner of the home to bring his visitor water so they could cleanse their own feet from their travels or sometimes a servant might do it but never would a free and ordinary citizen. But then Jesus wasn't ordinary was he? Pastor Keith pointed out that this act of service was about service, humility and love. Jesus put himself in a position to serve. He humbled himself before others. And He loved like no one else. That was His example for us. God could have sent His Son to us for a week or a month or a year. He could have sent him here briefly to die on the cross for our sins but what is truly amazing to me, and something I've never thought of before (again, thanks to Keith) is that God sent His Son to earth to live for 33 years. He sent him here for 33 years so that we would know how to live. He gave us the example and on the night before He knew He was to die, He washed the feet of His disciples. He gave us the example to humble ourselves before others, to serve others and to love others. It leaves me breathless. It made me cry up there on that stage tonight.

The entire week this song by Mercy Me has been in my head and I've been raising my hands in the kitchen and in the shower and in the car, singing.....



I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

[CHORUS]
Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

[REPEAT CHORUS 2x]

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay


As I've prepared my heart for Christ's dying on the cross and the victory Easter morning brings, it has been such a comforting image to stay and rest in His holiness. It has been comforting to not need the words or to be heard but to wait on His message for me and tonight as my feet were being washed, I heard Him loud and clear. I am amazed by you, God. I am humbled by you and so very thankful for your life and it's example, for your death and your suffering and for your heavenly victory!